SNL's Poehler gets down to business

BY PUNIT MATTOO
Daily Arts Writer
Published March 28, 2007

If there's such a thing as a boundary of good taste in figure skating, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett ("Arrested Development") completely ignore it in the new comedy "Blades of Glory," which opens nationwide tomorrow. Sporting denim Louis Vuitton-print outfits with Timbaland and Converse skates, the duo manage to make figure skating look even tackier than the feathered spectacles we're forced to endure every four years.

Poehler touched upon the glittery topic in a conference call: "We had tons and tons of fittings and we would like just go crazy and then we would watch the actual Olympics and we'd be like, 'Oh, no, we need to go crazier. We need to go bigger.' " She added that the hip-hop Louis Vuitton outfit was "for all the inner city kids that are ice skating."

Outside of the opportunity to wear spandex for extended periods of time, the film allowed Poehler to work with husband Will Arnett. Both have developed cult followings - Poehler with her work in improv and on "SNL," and Arnett with his career-defining role of GOB Bluth on "Arrested." After a childhood of hockey in his native Canada, Arnett also provided the novice Poehler with some skating lessons to help them outshine the film's other leads, Will Ferrell ("Old School") and Jon Heder ("Napoleon Dynamite").

A set filled with accomplished comedians and the aura of cutthroat skating inevitably led to adrenaline-fueled insults between cast members.

"There would be a lot of fierce trash talking on the ice about us like kind of taking each other out and ending each other's careers," Poehler said. "What I lack in size, I make up for in a fresh mouth, so I would kind of yell my stuff and then I would skate away and go hide under a chair where no one would find me."

Barring any mishaps during the press tour, Poehler is expected to maintain the busy schedule that's made her an almost ubiquitous figure in comedy. Her co-hosting job of "Weekend Update" on "Saturday Night Live," along with the multitude of characters she's played on the show have led to roles such as the "cool mom" in "Mean Girls" and a voice in the upcoming "Shrek the Third." She's also reuniting with former "SNL" writer Tina Fey for this summer's "Baby Mama." The decision-making process has become harder as the number of roles offered increases, but Poehler joked that she sticks to a time-tested method of throwing scripts into the air and picking.

"So right now I'm in real trouble because I have to play like a 45-year-old black janitor and I don't think I can pull it off, but that's what landed so that's where I'm going to go next," Poehler said.

Balancing the hectic schedule on "SNL" with weekly appearances alongside the Upright Citizens Brigade improv troupe, a growing film career and a sometimes-bicoastal marriage would seem to tire or even burn out most actors. Poehler, however, has her own solution.

"You know, I don't like to call it a meth lab. I like to call it a house of hope - a synthetic house of hope," she joked. "So yeah, do I grow, produce and take my own meth? Yes. Do I think it's a problem? No. Am I sick of people talking to me about it? Yes. Does my family want to go and give me treatments? Yes. Do I think my family is wrong? Yes. So I don't need people coming down on me about how I handle my business. So yes, once again, I take meth every day in order to maintain the schedule. Do I think it's a problem? No."